October 2020 Newsletter: Vote | Policy Focus | Housing Counselor Dispatch | Board Updates | Conference | Learning & Networking | What We're Sharing | Jobs

Don't Delay–Vote Today

Early voting has started in Illinois! Raising your voice during this year’s election is critical. Casting your ballot before November 3 will help reduce crowding at the polls on Election Day, making the process safer and easier for everyone.

Make sure your voice is heard. Hit the polls early »

While filling out your ballot, vote YES on the Fair Tax referendum. A Fair Tax will reform Illinois’ broken tax system while ensuring that 97% of Illinoisans—those who make $250,000 a year or less—receive a tax cut or pay no more than they do now. It will generate $3 billion in new resources that we can invest in priorities such as housing programs, education, and health care.

Have questions? Learn more about the Fair Tax referendum »

Want to do more? Help us contact voters to win a Fair Tax for Illinois. Sign up for a phone banking shift »

Blue Square that reads

Policy Focus

Eviction Moratorium in Illinois Extended

Governor Pritzker has extended the state eviction moratorium through November 14. This measure is stronger than the nationwide CDC eviction moratorium in effect through December 31.

While these protections are critical, they merely postpone evictions. When they expire and back rent comes due, renters will be unable to pay. Meanwhile, small landlords are struggling to pay their bills. Congress must provide rental assistance to support tenants and landlords and stabilize our communities. We continue to work with the National Low Income Housing Coalition and our partners around the country to ensure this happens as soon as possible.

Endorse Emergency Eviction Protections

Housing Action Illinois is working with partners to advocate for COVID-19 emergency eviction protections for renters at risk of losing their homes. Our proposed provisions will prohibit landlords from filing evictions if they accept partial rent payments from their tenants, expand opportunities to seal eviction records, and automatically seal eviction cases filed during the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recovery period.

Learn more and endorse »

Protect Renters in Suburban Cook County

Do you live in Cook County? Join us in urging commissioners to pass the Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance, which clarifies roles and responsibilities for both renters and landlords—making the rental landscape easier and fairer to navigate for everyone. For thirty years, renters living in Chicago, Evanston, and Mount Prospect have benefited from municipal landlord-tenant ordinances, but 245,000+ renter households in suburban Cook County don't have these protections. 

Urge your commissioner to support renters »

Group of cartoon people in the shape of text bubble. Text reads

Housing Counselor Dispatch

HUD Awards Supplemental Counseling Funds to Housing Action Illinois 

HUD announced $12.5 million in housing counseling grants to 219 organizations throughout the United States. Housing Action Illinois was awarded $384,751, the 5th largest grant allocated and the largest in the state of Illinois. We are excited for this opportunity to provide additional assistance to the HUD-approved housing counseling agencies in our Intermediary network, which will help them support more families in finding and keeping good homes.


Welcoming New Board Members to Housing Action

Circular portrait of Shalonda Bedenfield

Shalonda Bedenfield has been at the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago for 8 years and is inspired by serving others. She is an AVP, Lead Community Investment Operations Specialist, and currently works on all aspects of AHP Operations. She is committed to operational excellence while leading her team and serves as an active member of multiple groups within the bank. Ms. Bedenfield has diverse experiences in operations, project management, real estate development, and leadership. She is very excited about the continued efforts toward affordable housing and bringing her two decades of experience to Housing Action’s board. A proud alumni of DePaul University, Ms. Bedenfield believes in Servant Leadership, which is to serve first; if one person wins, we all win!

"I am passionate about affordable housing!"

Circular Portrait of John Herring

John Herring is the Executive Director of the Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living, where he advocates for individuals with disabilities. Mr. Herring is a native of Danville, IL. He has been in Administration for over twenty years, and he has been an advocate for teens, adults, families, and homeless male veterans. His goal continues to be assisting individuals on their journeys to become self-sufficient in their struggle for equity and equality in work, school, housing, transportation, and health care. In his current position, he wants to make Illinois a “Best Practice” State for Centers of Independent Living. Mr. Herring is also a Pastor in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and a community activist. He and his wife, Patricia, have three children and four adorable grandchildren.

"I am wanting to help advocate for affordable and accessible housing for those individuals in Illinois who are low-income and at risk of not being heard."

Renewing Board Members 

We would also like to thank all the Board Members that are continuing their service, including renewing Board Members  Jackie Newman, Springfield Housing Authority; Laura Olvera, Community Partners for Affordable Housing; Darsonya Switzer, Dove, Inc.; and Margaret Wooten, Chicago Urban League.

Darsonya Switzer
Laura Olvera

2020 Conference Wrap-Up

The Housing Action Illinois team would like to thank everyone who participated in our 2020 Housing Matters! Conference. Anyone is welcome to download session materials on the Housing Action Illinois website. Conference registrants can log into the national Strengthening Resilient Communities website to view session recordings.

To start off the conference this year, we asked housing advocates from all across Illinois: What are you proud of in your community that you think more people should know about?

Watch the conference kick-off video to hear their answers »  

Board Co-Chair Darsonya Switzer speaking, text under photo reads

Whether it ends up being an in-person or virtual gathering, we can't wait to see everyone again in October 2021.


Learning & Networking

Note: All event postings are from Housing Action, our members, funders, and organizations to which we belong. See our full trainings calendar or general events calendar. Have something coming up that we should list? Let us know!

Metropolitan Planning Council, Implications of a City That Is Segregated, 11/2: Register

Chicago Rehab Network Community Empowerment Workshop Series, 11/2-23: Register at www.chicagorehab.org 

Forefront, Final Checklist for Giving Tuesday, 11/10: Register

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, An Inside Look, 11/19: Register


What We're Sharing

Housing Authority of Cook County’s Housing Choice Voucher Waitlist is now open. For the first time in over a decade, low-income families can apply for a housing voucher lottery for Suburban Cook County. Submit applications by 11/2 at 4:30 pm. (resource)

Enterprise Community Partners has created the Chicago Housing and Health Dashboard, which allows users to visualize data surrounding public health and housing segregation. (resource)

Illinois Lawmakers Seek Ideas To End Lending Gaps, WBEZ, 10/16. (article)

Sheila Sutton, a housing policy organizer with Housing Action Illinois, said she appreciated the banks’ commitments around down-payment assistance and increased lending. “But these responses do not fix the systemic racism in our lending and homeownership landscape, which have deeply harmed Black and brown communities, and their ability to build wealth and share in the American dream."

Black homeowner, 2 appraisals, $62,000 difference, Chicago Sun-Times, 10/7. (article)

Applications open for COVID-19 Resident Cash Assistance Program. Submit application by 11/6. (resource)

COVID-19 Resources Related to Housing & Homelessness: Housing Action continues to compile COVID-19 information and resources. (resource)


Who's Hiring

Note: All job postings are from Housing Action Illinois, our members, funders, and organizations to which we belong. Have an opportunity we should list? Let us know.

All Chicago, Various Positions 

Alliance to End Homelessness in Suburban Cook County, Director of Finance and Operations 

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Legal Fellowship

Chinese American Service League, Various Positions

Connections for the Homeless, Various Positions

Housing Forward, Various Positions

Housing Opportunities and Maintenance for the Elderly, Resident Assistant 

IFF, Various Positions

National Low Income Housing Coalition, Manager of Media Relations and Communications

Phoenix Community Development Services, Various Positions

Sarah's Circle, Development Director, Program Staff

The Resurrection Project, Institutional Advancement Officer 

Woods Fund Chicago, Program Officer


Housing Action Illinois staff will be working remotely until further notice. Our team of dedicated, passionate staff members continue to support housing nonprofits and homeless service providers and advocate for Illinoisans facing housing instability during this difficult time. Please consider joining us in our efforts by supporting our work.


Housing Action Illinois
67 E. Madison Street, Suite 1603 | Chicago, Illinois 60603
312-939-6074 | communications@housingactionil.org


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